Discontent, Elevating and Degrading

Bhagavad-gītā 4.22 | August 12, 2015 |

English; Lika, Croatia

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Question: Can a devotee accept service that his guru doesn't directly engage in? For instance, I am very much inspired by Indradyumna's Maharaj's festivals. I think such festivals have a broad reach to masses. I don't like the cultural part of these festivals, but the philosophy and prasadam and kirtan can really get people intrigued. Some time in the… Expand>

Question:

Can a devotee accept service that his guru doesn't directly engage in? For instance, I am very much inspired by Indradyumna's Maharaj's festivals. I think such festivals have a broad reach to masses. I don't like the cultural part of these festivals, but the philosophy and prasadam and kirtan can really get people intrigued.

Some time in the future I would like to organize such festivals and do mass book distributions. However, for that I would need a lot of training from Indradyumna Maharaj even though I am aspiring to serve you.

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāśa Swami:

We are all supposed to be servants of Śrīla Prabhupāda in the saṅkīrtana movement. So, if you are inspired to help with some particular service which pushes forward the saṅkīrtana movement, that’s not against what I’m doing. And if at all I’m to guide you, I’m to guide you to serve in the association of devotees the bona fide activities of the saṅkīrtana movement. 

So by all means: 
nāca, gāo, bhakta-saṅge kara saṅkīrtana
kṛṣṇa-nāma upadeśi’ tāra’ sarva-jana (CC Ādi 7.92)

[‘My dear child, continue dancing, chanting and performing saṅkīrtana in association with devotees. Furthermore, go out and preach the value of chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma, for by this process You will be able to deliver all fallen souls.’]

Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself received the order to sing and dance, perform saṅkīrtana in the association of devotees and by instructing the holy name to everyone to deliver the whole world. 

So that order is coming in the paramparā, and wherever and however you get the opportunity to help the devotees in, and join with the devotees in spreading the saṅkīrtana movement, do it. It’s not that if you become my disciple, you have to be locked into a little bubble in a little corner. Let’s all be part of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s big family.

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In the Nectar of Devotion, Part 1 Chapter 8, {Offenses to be avoided} Srila Prabhupada writes and I qoute"One should begin the worship of Demigod Ganapati, who drives away all impediments in execution of devotional service.In the Brahma samhita, it is stated that Ganapati worships the lotus feet of Lord Nrsimhadeva,and in that way he has become auspicious for the devotees in clearing out all impediments. Therefore all devotees should worship Ganapati". Lord Sri Krishna has of course discouraged us from engaging in worship of demigods in the Bhagavad Gita. I presume that the contradiction may be explained from the example of the Gopis who engaged in the worship of Lord Shiva for purely devotional reasons.

But I have also heard in one of your lectures where you had not agreed with the tendency of some Iskcon temples in North America having the deity of Lord Ganesha in the altar. Also else where in a letter conversation also Srila Prabhupada disagreed with the idea of Lord Ganesh worship, asking his disciple to pay him a hefty amount before they want to do that? How do I resolve these apparent contradictions? Is it an acceptable tendency to allow demigod worship in our temples?

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Although we produce large quantities of prasadam the process is not mechanized – everything is hand-made and offered to Krishna by initiated devotees. We use just pure natural and bonafide ingredients – no chemical stuff etc. We are very strict in this regard and do no compromises.

The company has professional image. It is not directly advertised that it is Hare Krishna company although we do not hide it in any way that we are devotees and the food we distribute is prasadam.

We are sometimes criticized by some devotees that it is questionable if the food we produce is really prasadam and that whole company has nothing to do with devotional service and it is simply karmic work. It is mainly because of the professional look of the company and because we produce big quantities of food packaged in the way the karmi food is packaged.

 

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